Test of Time: Places in the Early Frommer's Guides That Are Still Open Today

Places in early Frommer's guides that are still around today The Potter's House
Travel is a turbulent landscape. Tastes and economies peak and ebb, supporting few long-term survivors. But Frommer's is one of them. Ever since 1957, we have been hitting the pavement around the globe to collect trustworthy guidance for travelers. As hard as it may be to imagine in a modern culture overrun with online reviews, in many cases, Frommer's writers were the very first people to set foot in a hotel or restaurant for the purpose of reviewing it for American tourists. And we're not saying we had anything to do with it, but a handful of those early recommended places are still in business today. Often, they have been as transformed by time as we have been, but each one is a time-tested champion, and each one has contributed to generations of treasured travel memories.
View Next Slide
Hotel Boston, Milan Hotel Boston
Europe on 5 Dollars a Day, 1961–62: "The Hotel Boston, Via Lepetit 7, just three blocks (100 yards) from the Central Station. Every room has a shower or bath, and the  owner...assures me that prices in 1961 will remain at 2400 lire for a double, taxes and service included. Father of the desk clerk is a violinist with La Scala orchestra."

Today: Rooms are still an affordable €69; www.hotelbostonmilan.com.
View Next Slide
Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas on $5 and $10 a Day, 1962: "It's worth taking a walk over to the Graffeo Coffee House (733 Columbus), when you're in the neighborhood, just for the magnificent smell of roasting coffee beans. Owner Giovanni Repetto doesn't sell coffee by the cup, but by the pound; he'll blend and roast it for you and then, if he takes a fancy to you, will brew up a batch in his espresso machine and slip in a spot of Italian brandy (grappa), before offering you a taste. The combination of the smell of the shop and the taste of the coffee will transport you into a special sort of heaven."

Today: Giovanni passed away in 2003, but his son Luciano runs the family business; www.graffeo.com.
View Next Slide
Hotel Berchielli, Florence Hotel Berchielli
The G.I.'s Guide to Travelling in Europe, 1955: "My favorite Florence hotel is the Berchielli on Lungarno Acciaioli 14, perfectly situated only a block from the Ponte Vecchio. It's patronized mostly by British tourists, and they know how to spot a bargain. I had a good single room, with Renaissance tapestries on the wall for 700 lire ($1.15)."
Today: A room starts at €230; berchielli.it.
View Next Slide
The Potter's House, Washington, D.C. The Potter's House
Washington, D.C. on $5 a Day, 1965: "One of our favorite places for coffee, conversation and occasional entertainment is The Potter's House, 1658 Columbia Road NW, phone HU 3-9697, located just off 16th Street above Meridian Hill Park. The coffee is excellent—we especially like the Cappuccino brew for 55¢ and the delicious French and Eastern pastries for 50¢. Also on the menu are sandwiches, cheeses, teas and cold drinks—everything priced under $1. The Potter's House is sponsored by a community church, The Church of the Saviour, and is an honest attempt to recapture the art of conversation by providing a congenial atmosphere. The large room is candlelit, there are paintings exhibited on the walls and handmade pottery in the window. The coffee house puts on sporadic evenings of plays, presented by amateur actors and followed by discussions. Sometimes you'll catch a poetry reading or a program of authentic folk music, such as on the night we spent listening to Scottish ballads from the Hebrides. Activities are announced by a small sign in the window, or you can telephone for information."
Today: Still going strong—though with steeper prices; pottershousedc.org.
View Next Slide
Ronnie Scott's, London Ronnie Scott's
England on $5 and $10 a Day, 1966–1967: "This is a jumping place, a bit overcrowded, but one of the leading places in London to go for jazz. Many 'greats' from the United States have appeared here. To join costs a pound ($2.80), and from then on, the entrance price averages around 10/9 ($1.50), depending, of course, on the show. It is licensed for drinks. The music goes on until early in the morning during week-end jam sessions. It can be terrible or great here, depending upon the evening you hit."

Today: Jimi Hendrix would give his last performance here in 1970, but Ronnie Scott's is still one of London's premier spots for jazz; www.ronniescotts.co.uk.
View Next Slide
Weatherford Hotel, Flagstaff, Arizona Weatherford Hotel
Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas on $5 and $10 a Day, 1962: "Our personal favorite is the Weatherford Hotel (Aspen & Lerous, PR 4-2731), on the street behind Santa Fe. Singles without bath cost $4–$5 in winter, $5.50–$6 in summer, doubles one dollar more. Rooms with bath cost $6 single, $7 double in winter; $7 and $8 in summer. All roomes have those magnificent old marble washbasins and thick carpeting which may be responsible for the series of electric shocks we received every time we touched anything metallic in the hotel. Very nice notel, but three stories and no elevator."
Today: The carpets and marble basins are gone and the hotel's original balcony (pictured) has been restored—yet rooms are still a reasonable $105 a night; weatherfordhotel.com.
View Next Slide
Hotel Columbus, Rome Hotel Columbus
Europe on 5 Dollars a Day, 1961-62: "The Hotel Columbus, at 33 Via della Conciliazione, is one of the great hotel values of Europe, a former mansion of a Renaissance Cardinal, beautifully restored and richly-furnished. The lobby and lounges are cavernous, with cool flagstone floors and burnished wood fixtures; and the equally fine (and cool) rooms are 2800 lire for a double without bath, 1600 lire for a single, plus service and taxes amounting to about 19%. One of the few hotels that could be called—inspiring."
Today: Still a solid mid-priced choice at €141/night; hotelcolumbus.net.
View Next Slide
Bouteille d’Or, Paris Bouteille d'Or
The G.I.'s Guide to Travelling in Europe, 1955: "For that one meal where you'll want the very best French food, yet still at realistic prices, go to Bouteille d'Or, 9 Quai Montebello, across from Notre Dame. They'll serve you a fixed price meal for a little over $2 that you'll remember all your life: sauces on which days were spent in the preparation, and all the other touches for which you'd pay a fortune in other Parisian restaurants."
Today: A 2011 renovation exposed brickwork going back to the early 1600s, so it looks even better now, but mains cost around €30—a little out of young Pfc. Arthur Frommer's original price range; www.boparis.com.
View Next Slide
Alhambra Hotel, London Meghan Lamb
Europe on $5 a Day, 1969–70: "Undoubtedly one of the best budget spots here is the 25/-a-night ($3), centrally-heated Alhambra Hotel, 17 Argyle Street, King's Cross, London, W.C. 1 (TER 9575), which moved here after its previous building at 33 Bernard Street was demolished in 1965. The owners have long been recommended in this book, and have a good attitude towards U.S. and Canadian tourists; unfortunately their 25/-per-person charge is only for small double rooms; singles pay 27/6 shillings."
Today: B&Bs are a dying breed in London, but this one is still in the family (that's the current generation's manager, Bruno, pictured) and it still gets a strong recommendation in our bestselling guidebook to London; rooms are £95/£85; alhambrahotel.com.
View Next Slide
Sevilla Restaurant, New York City Sevilla Restaurant
New York City on 5 Dollars a Day, 1961: "In the dimly-lit atmosphere of the Sevilla, against the background of a lulling soft guitar, you can savor a long, drawn-out meal in the best Spanish tradition—and at quite reasonable prices. Complete dinners range well below $2.50 (although there are a few broiled specialities costing a bit more). For only $2.25, we began with a cup of clear consomme, followed it with Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken with rice) and green vegetables; and then, for dessert, had cream cheese with guava jelly (a Spanish specialty) and coffee. The Fried Fresh Jumbo Shrimp are $2.00 on the complete dinner and the spicy Chili con Carne with Rice is only $1.75."

Today: It looks much the same, and even retains a varnish stain mural painted in 1924 (pictured); www.sevillarestaurantandbar.com.
View Next Slide